Puppy beating death not unique: SPCA
The B.C. SPCA says the violent beating death of a puppy over the weekend is not unique – and that countless other animal cruelty investigations go uninvestigated because of financial limitations.
Police found the three-month-old pit bull inside a Victoria hotel suite on Saturday after a number of neighbours reported hearing cries and yelps. "The officers did rush it to a 24-hour vet hospital. The dog did not survive," Victoria police Const. Peter Lane said. "It was a disturbing scene, and not something that we come across every day."
Marcie Moriarty, general manger of SPCA cruelty investigations, says while the shocking incident is uncommon, it's not unique – officers probe roughly a dozen similar cases of abuse each year.
During another recent incident in Victoria, a mother raccoon was beaten to death. "She was bludgeoned over 18 times with a hockey stick," Moriarty said. "The Crown didn't take the case. Obviously, the six-foot-tall man was very afraid and acting in self-defence."
Roughly 6,000 less-severe cases of animal cruelty and neglect are investigated in B.C. each year, with about 1,500 animals seized. But Moriarty says the agency, unlike most provinces' SPCAs, does not receive government funding.
"We get zero dollars to do these investigations, whereas provinces like Alberta get about $500,000," she said.
The agency used to receive about $75,000 of its 2.2-million budget from the Ministry of Agriculture and Land, but was cut off in 2008. Moriarty says it's something most in the province, which she describes as "animal friendly, very environmental and progressive," don't know.
"It always kills me when someone calls us and complains about, ‘You guys aren't doing anything, my tax dollars pay your salary!'" she said.
For now, every cent of the organizations operating budget is donated.
As a result, several communities are without an SPCA presence – including Prince Rupert, Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Quesnel, Comox and Port Alberni. "Animals are neglected in those areas too and they die horrific deaths," Moriarty said.
She added that things are looking up in B.C., in part because the public is becoming more aware of what is considered appropriate animal care.
The suspect in Saturday's beating death remains in police custody, where he will receive psychiatric assessment. Lane said he faces numerous charges, including animal cruelty, breaching court orders and drug charges.
He is due to appear in court on Tuesday.